Published on January 02, 2020

Former Payson Center Patient Found Joy in Care, Gives By Joy By Volunteering

As a cancer patient, Beverly Cotton endured many side effects from the chemotherapy and radiation treatments that saved her life. Now, as a volunteer, she enjoys a different side effect when she visits Concord Hospital Payson Center for Cancer Care — JOY.

Volunteer Beverly Cotton and Patient

Beverly Cotton with patient

Beverly, from Weare, entered the Payson Center in August 2016 to begin 35 days of radiation therapy and seven weeks of chemotherapy to treat inoperable neck cancer. Like most cancer patients, she felt anxious, fearful and vulnerable, until she began experiencing a level of caring and compassion that brought her hope.

“They were so inspiring to me in their ability to care about me, as well as for me,” Beverly said.

“I just had a feeling every time I walked in the Payson Center that no matter how bad the treatment was and how bad the side effects were, I was going to be okay,” she said. “That didn’t mean I was going to feel great. That meant ‘This too shall pass,’ and someday I will be okay.”

Forever grateful to the Payson team that held her hand – literally and figuratively – Beverly returns to Payson once a week to do the same for patients in the outpatient chemotherapy unit where she received her treatments. She offers a cool drink or warm blanket or lends an ear to someone having the kind of bad day she experienced during her own intense treatment. 

“When people find out my cancer was recent, not 20 years ago, they say ‘Wow! That really gives me hope.’ 

“That’s just right to the moon for me,” she said. “That’s the best part.” 

Sitting in Payson’s Joan K. Farrel Cancer Resource Library before her weekly visit to chemotherapy patients, Beverly said she feels joy from her cancer-free life, the caregivers who brought her there and from new patients she helps and learns from.

“I am now getting ready to go upstairs to talk to people who are an inspiration for me,” she said. “It’s an inspiration to see people being able to walk in and smile and think it’s a beautiful day and appreciate that in the face of some very challenging times.” 

Beverly’s volunteering gives her a special opportunity to touch lives in a meaningful way.

“That’s what’s important in life — the relationships and the human touch and experiences,” she said. “What I get from that is just a wonderful feeling in my heart that translates to joy.

“It’s a wonderful side effect of what I do now.”